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Hybrids the Real Payback



  • No the city is higher because of the hybird electric motors.
  • "Actually, what happens in those rare cases (fully charged traction battery) is that MG1 (the electricity generating motor/generator) stops producing electicity. It simply spins freely."
    Not correct. Check back through all of the posts and discussion in the prius forum for the past 3 years.

    There is a definite reason why the highway mileage is less. It is because the MG is always spinning and is either acting as an eletric motor the M or is acting as a generator the G.

    All of these rest of your comments /questions are answered there also.


  • devesienna said "The front wheels are still tied directly to the crankshaft of the engine."

    Then what happens at low speeds when the ICE is not running or other times when the ICE shuts off, do the front wheels skid along the pavement? Because if the front wheels were directly tied to the crankshaft of the engine, then the crankshaft would always be turning or the front wheels would be skidding.

    The again if the ICE is turned off on low speed and the eletric motors are running what do they connect too, to make the car run?

    Either, I am confused or you have redesigned the Toyota HSD system.


  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    First off, thanks for the information. You're obviously a Prius owner so I've got a question.

    Do you actually feel that you get better mileage under city driving conditions? In Consumer Reports road test they achieved 35 mpg in the city and 50 on the highway. They make every effort to conduct these tests under consistent and controlled conditions. Its hard for me to believe that they could be this wrong.

    I do disagree with your assessment of 250 hp engines being inefficient. It really all depends on how this power is achieved. Let's start with a fairly small displacement engine that produces low hp and torque and it will probably be fuel efficient. Now if you increase this engine's potential power by figuring out a way to stuff more fuel and air into the cylinders under full throttle it doesn't necessarily make it less efficient when it is only putting out 50 hp under cruising conditions. That has essentially been the trend with modern automobiles over the past 15 years. They have increased the cars potential power without sacrificing efficiency under normal driving conditions.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Here's the way I see this issue. You have this mechanical energy being produced by an ICE and it can be used to either drive the wheels or drive a generator. Which option will result in the vehicle being able to travel more miles? Now the amount of energy required to turn the wheels will be the same regardless of whether they are turned by an electric motor or an ICE. If it somehow makes sense to use the ICE's energy to turn a generator why not then use the electric motor's energy to turn another generator, then another, then another, etc... Eventually you'll be talking about some really serious mpg.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I think you are hoping for perpetual motion. Remember each of the MGs you add will be more weight in the overly plump Prius. The main reason the LRR tires that come on the Prius only last 10k miles is it is too heavy for the tires. They have optimized the Prius to the max and any added weight will probably have a negative impact on mileage.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I am absolutely talking about perpetual motion, which of course is impossible. That is why this idea of using the mechanical energy of an ICE to charge a battery rather than drive the wheels doesn't make sense. Even if there was no additional weight involved it still doesn't make sense. That energy to turn a generator, to charge a battery isn't going to magically become more energy when when it goes from the battery to the electric motor.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I think you and I are on the same keep it simple page.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    because of the cyclical nature of the driving environment - accelerating/decelerating, up/down hills, and the high peak/average power requirement.

    The current hybrids provide a means of energy recovery that is not available in a system that does not have a means to store that energy. They also allow use of a smaller and more fuel efficeient ICE than would otherwise be required since both drives in COMBINATION provide the peak power requirement.

    A series hybrid as in train propulsion requires that both the ICE and electric drive be rated for the full power requirement of the system. Road vehicles have a very different operating cycle than boats or trains which have a comparitively low peak/average power requirement and therefore would not benefit from a parallel hybrid arrangement as used in automobiles. An automobile OTOH requires upwards of 90hp/ton to be even marginally competitive with the current population of road vehicles while its steady state power requirement at highway speed may be only ~15-20hp.

    Unfortunately, the economics of current hybrids still do not make sense.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Consumers Union used to think like you, no longer does.

    Please, no one post about their being part of the ICE conspiracy! :P
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    I'm not surprised, CU has a long history of erroneous automotive conclusions.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    And your own independent research, or some other, totally unbiased organizations, are better, we assume? :P

  • Do you actually feel that you get better mileage under city driving conditions?

    I own a Prius, so I'll chime in here.

    Yes, you do get better mileage under city conditions. However, if it is extremely hot out you will only get good mileage for about 3 minutes or so. Once your A/C has drained the battery your mileage will suffer. The same goes for winter city driving, but for opposite reasons.. the engine has to stay on to provide heat.

    However, if it's nice out, you can do quite well in city driving.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Does Consumers Union take into account the tax break given to these vehicles? If so anything can be made to make sense with the right amount of market manipulation. And they also don't think that they make a blanket statement regarding the cost effectiveness of buying a hybrid. They cite individual cases where it makes financial sense. For instance, they claim that a Prius makes sense when compared to a Camry. However the Prius wouldn't make sense compared to a Corolla. I'm not sure why they think that the Prius is more similar to a Camry than a Corolla. I don't see it that way.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    They compare the Prius and Corolla because they are close to the same weight and other Insurance Industry criteria, it wasn't something they pulled out of a hat. That is how one does comparisons..... ;)
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I agree, the Prius should be compared to the Corolla. What I've been seeing is the Prius compared to the Camry. I know that Edmunds makes this comparison. It tends to make the Prius look a whole lot better from a cost perspective. Not only is the Camry more expensive but it doesn't get the mpg of the Corolla.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247

    I have only seen the CU site comparisons...not Edmunds. CU only compares to the Corolla...what in the heck was Edmunds thinking :confuse:
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    but the comparison is not necessarily logical or useful.

    There are many vehicles that offer better or equal performance and utility as the Prius at much lower cost. Even among Toyota's offerings, the Corolla, Matrix, XA, XB and Yaris come to mind.

    Even at $3/gal. it would require 150,000mi to recover a $5000 difference between a 45mpg Prius and a 30mpg something else and one can easily achieve more than 30mpg with even greater than $5k price difference.

    Payback periods measured in decades or hundreds of thousands of miles suggest rather risky investments given the myriad risks of vehicle ownership. What are the odds that one will actually own a vehicle long enough to break-even? Will the unrealized payback be reflected in resale value? It's too much of a long shot for me.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    And that is a perfectly acceptable choice, DaySailer.

    Not all car buyers use only a financial consideration. Some are motivated by the environmental picture, and what kind of world they will leave. Also totally acceptable.

    Those who are concerned about emissions, and can easily, without too big of a financial hit, help reduce them, will. :)
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    those who are wealthy have many options.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    When at a loss, blame the rich? :P

    Hybrids, like the Camry and Prius, cost no more than the LX or LXE editions that hundreds of thousands are buying every year. And the price keeps going down, the premium the public pays for one. EV technology is advancing at such a rapid pace, I see non cart-like ones at dealerships within the next 5 years.

    I hardly think it is the "wealthy" buying Hybrids. And the available data reflects that. Mostly middle class people. And the retired, fixed income set.

    But I do see lots of hourly wage earners, who most consider low-income people, like Bell men at hotels, and valet car parkers, driving top of the line, leather seated, chrome wheeled Altima's, Maxima's, and the like. Those cost thousands more than a Prius.

    All automobile purchases are net losses. If one can pay a couple of thousand more, save on gasoline, and have it, after five years, cost them no more than a ICE, and save 70% of the emissions, that is hardly a financial burden. ;)
  • I grew up in the automobile industry, but perhaps you have stumbled upon some new knowledge I know nothing about. Anything is possible, they say

    You are saying you grew up in the industry - so tell me what represents a bigger profit for a typical high-volume dealership - is it the new car sales or used car sales or their service department?
    If you can put percentages to each, what would you put?
    I'm talking profits - not gross volume.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    Blame? No blame implied or intended. If someone has the resources to commit tens of thousands of dollars based on ideals, emotion or the phase of the moon, more power to them. I do not, however, think that describes a majority of the auto market.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    Toyota's own website puts the demographic for the Prius at $85k per year income. I don't consider that the average working family. We have hashed this a couple years ago. The average family income according to the Bureau of Labor statistics for 2002 was $36k per year. The Prius is bought according to Toyota by people making over double the average US income. So I would agree they are for the wealthier folks in the USA. As does this University study.

    “Hybrid car drivers have a level of education higher than any group of car drivers that I’ve ever seen,” says Walter McManus, director of the Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation at the University of Michigan. McManus further describes these drivers:

    They have higher income, much higher than the average car buyer—approximately $100,000 a year
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    New technologies are almost always adopted by the more affluent first. Prices typically come down and these products become accessible to the masses. I personally am not interested in a hybrid but I believe that they are furthering technology that will be used in EVs, which I am interested in. So to that extent I appreciate the people supporting hybrids. The idea that these people are spending 10's of thousands extra is somewhat of an exaggeration on daysailer's part.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Everyone here needs to expend a bit more energy actually reading posts, instead of jumping in to answer about something that was never said. ;)

    A poster had accused the manufacturer not the dealer, of milking warranty work, etc.

    What I said was manufacturers don't derive extra income from warranty work. Does that explain my post better :confuse:
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I personally am not interested in a hybrid but I believe that they are furthering technology that will be used in EVs,

    I kind of disagree. EVs were coming along fine until the rug was pulled out from under them. Someone in power decided that hybrids would be a better compromise and not cut out the oil companies completely as EVs were poised to do. Hybrids have used existing technology much of which came from EV research. HSD is from a marine hybrid design. NIMH was a result of GM building the EV-1. so in essence the hybrid set us back a quite a few years with its compromise with the oil companies. The first hybrid being tested was a Chrysler diesel hybrid. It was a 70+ MPG vehicle that Chrysler scrapped. Chrysler could not believe people were gullible enough to pay the premium.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    Your figures for the Prius are consistent with my long held opinion that a reasonable cost for a vehicle does not exceed ~25% of annnual gross income.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,112
    I agree. It amazes me the creative financing these days that throws all economic wisdom out the window. I think we are headed for a BIG crash. People are buying cars and houses so far above their means. One blip and it is all gone.

    If you buy your first car and keep it 10 years. You make payments to the creditor the first 5 years and to yourself the last five years. Then you never have to pay interest on a car again. And you have money in the bank for that rainy day.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    The 4 cyl Toyota Camry is close to $20k for the base model. Meaning that would be an impractical purchase for someone making less than $80k per year. Even a new Corolla would be an extravagance for most. The impact on an individual's finances is based on the cost to operate. I've read numerous reports that with cars lasting longer and requiring fewer repairs the actual cost to own the average vehicle is less than it was in the 70's.

    Granted the gas savings typically does not pay for the hybrid premium. So what? Does the upgraded sound system, alloy wheels, sun roof, etc... pay for themselves? Its all about the individual assigning value to a feature. If an individual values saving gas beyond the purely monetary level that is no more irrational than paying extra for most of the other options that a vehicle can be equipped with.
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